By RICHIE MURRAY
DU QUOIN, IL – Clauson Marshall Racing, Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports and Tucker/Boat Motorsports have all filed their entries for the Saturday, December 16 “Junior Knepper 55” USAC Midget “Special Event” indoors at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.
CMR has entered six cars for the event, including the driver who won the very first “Knepper 55” in 2015, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. of Olive Branch, Mississippi. Stenhouse won twice, at Talladega Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, on the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup circuit in 2017 and is one of just eight drivers to win a NASCAR Cup, USAC Silver Crown, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint and USAC National Midget race in his career, joining Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, and Tony Stewart.
His teammates include 2017 USAC Most Improved Driver and 2016 “Knepper 55” winner Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, Indiana, plus Ione, California’s Justin Grant, the winner of the most recent race at the Southern Illinois Center, March’s “Shamrock Classic,” and Shane Golobic of Fremont, California, winner of the Shamrock Classic in 2016.
In fact, CMR’s head wrenches Tim Clauson and Tyler Ransbottom were a part of the winning team in all four of USAC’s appearances at the Southern Illinois Center. Joining those previous winners for the upcoming race are 2017 Don Basile “Turkey Night Grand Prix” Rookie of the Race Zeb Wise of Angola, Indiana as well as King of the West/NARC standout Gio Scelzi of Fresno, California.
Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports has entered three cars for the “Knepper 55.” Two of which will be driven by a pair of drivers who own three of the last five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships.
Norman, Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell needs no introduction to midget racing fans. The 2013 USAC National Midget champ recently wrapped up the NASCAR Truck title, then proceeded to travel to Ventura, California to win the “Turkey Night Grand Prix.” On the other hand, Matt Crafton of Tulare, California has made over 400 starts in the NASCAR Truck Series, but the “Knepper 55” will mark the two-time NASCAR Truck champ’s initial midget start. Lincoln, California’s Tanner Carrick rounds out the team’s driver lineup. Carrick was honored last Friday as the USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year.
Phoenix, Arizona’ Chad Boat, a three-time winner on the USAC National Midget trail in 2017, will partner up with Bixby, Oklahoma’s Tanner Berryhill on a two-car Tucker-Boat Motorsports team.
The Knepper family is once again sponsoring FREE entry for competitors to enter their midgets for the Saturday, December 16th “Junior Knepper 55” USAC Special Event at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Illinois.
After visiting https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2017-knepper-car-entry, use the coupon code “KNEPPER” to enter your car for the race at no charge. The offer expires Sunday, December 10th, 2017. The complete pre-entry list for the event will be published the following day, Monday, December 11th.
Additionally, tickets are now on sale for the 3rd annual “Junior Knepper 55” at http://www.usactickets.com/. The race will serve as the final event of the 2017 USAC racing season. Adult general admission tickets are available for just $18 in advance compared to the $20 price at the gate on race day.
Furthermore, on http://www.usactickets.com/, you may order your “Junior Knepper 55” event t-shirt now for just $25. Sizes small through 4XL are available, but make sure to get yours soon while supplies last.
The event carries no points toward the USAC National Midget season championship, but has quickly become one of the most coveted races to win on the series calendar, annually boasting a large car count and a star-studded field to boot.
The 55-lap event honors the memory of one of USAC’s most accomplished car owners – Walter “Junior” Knepper of Belleville, Illinois – whose famed yellow number 55 midgets and sprint cars raced to 58 career USAC feature victories, including 34 in Sprints and 24 in Midgets, with drivers Bob Wente, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Snider, Dana Carter, Rich Vogler and his son Steve Knepper.
Nick Knepper, grandson of Junior and son of 13-time USAC National Midget winner Steve Knepper, will promote the event along with Derek LeMaster.
Cars are scheduled to hit the track at 4pm (Central). A format utilizing passing points will be used to seed the feature lineups.
The event will be streamed LIVE on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. You can also catch on-demand coverage of the event a day after the race on http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.
53 CARS ENTERED AS OF DECEMBER 9, 2017:
CAR # / DRIVER / HOMETOWN / TEAM
0 KEVIN WOODY, JR./Victor, NY (Buckwalter Motorsports)
0B MIKE McSPARIN/Stonefort, IL (Mike McSparin)
1cc CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN/Spencer, IA (Jody Rosenboom Racing)
1ST SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN (Daryl Saucier/Shane Hmiel)
1T TONY RONEY/Herculaneum, MO (Tony Roney)
3 ALEX WATSON/Columbus, OH (3W Racing)
3B AUSTIN BLAIR/St. Louis, MO (Jim Neuman)
3N JAKE NEUMAN/New Berlin, IL (Jim Neuman)
3s BRIAN SHIRLEY/Chatham, IL (Jim Neuman)
5 CHASE BRISCOE/Mitchell, IN (Chase Briscoe Racing)
5c COLTEN COTTLE/Kansas, IL (Rick Cottle)
5x DANNY FRYE/St. Charles, MO (Danny Frye Motorsports)
6D DON DAWSON II/Indianola, IA (Don Dawson II)
7 GIO SCELZI/Fresno, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing)
7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson Marshall Racing)
7JR J.D. BLACK/Grain Valley, MO (J.D. Black)
7K JUSTIN PECK/Monrovia, IN (Kenny & Reva Irwin)
9JR DEREK HAGAR/Marion, AR (Hagar/Proctor Racing)
9K KYLE SCHUETT/Philo, IL (Schuett Racing)
11 BRENT BEAUCHAMP/Fairland, IN (Brent Beauchamp)
12w BILLY WEASE/Noblesville, IN (Amanda Wease)
14R JODY ROSENBOOM/Rock Rapids, IA (Jody Rosenboom Racing)
15m SHANE MORGAN/Morton, IL (Morgan Motorsports)
15s JIM PICARDI/Mapleton, IL (Morgan Motorsports)
17B TANNER BERRYHILL/Bixby, OK (Tucker/Boat Motorsports)
17BC RICKY STENHOUSE, JR./Olive Branch, MS (Clauson Marshall Racing)
17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing/Matt Wood)
18 TONY BRUCE, JR./Liberal, KS (Tony Bruce, Jr.)
21 CHRISTOPHER BELL/Norman, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
23LL LEE LENGEL/Wellsville, KS (Lee Lengel)
25p DYLAN PETERSON/Sioux Falls, SD (Vance Peterson)
25s ALEX SCHRIEVER/Sioux Falls, SD (Vance Peterson)
29 JOEY MOUGHAN/Springfield, IL (Tom Casson)
32 TREY MARCHAM/Newcastle, OK (Trey Marcham)
32x NICK HAMILTON/Danville, IN (Nick Hamilton)
D33 JACOB PATTON/Bethalto, IL (Jeff & Jill Davis)
35 TYLER ROBBINS/Bethalto, IL (Tyler Robbins)
39 ZEB WISE/Angola, IN (Clauson Marshall Racing)
39BC JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing)
41 HOWARD MOORE/Memphis, TN (Chris Chappue)
50 DANIEL ADLER/St. Louis, MO (Adler Motorsports)
55D NICK DRAKE/Sherrills Ford, NC (Troy Cline)
56x MARK CHISHOLM/Cheyenne, WY (Fifty6x Race Team)
57D DANIEL ROBINSON/Ewing, IL (McCreery Motorsports)
66 TBA (Amati Racing)
67 MATT CRAFTON/Tulare, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71K TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
77u CHRIS URISH/Elkhart, IL (Tom Casson)
84 CHAD BOAT/Phoenix, AZ (Tucker/Boat Motorsports)
88 TERRY BABB/Harristown, IL (Terry Babb)
91 TYLER NELSON/Kansas City, KS (Harris Racing)
93K RILEY KREISEL/Warsaw, MO (DKR Motorsports)
95 CHRIS ANDREWS/Tulsa, OK (Miller Racing)